Yesterday morning was so stressful that if stress could kill you, I would have been 12 feet under! I had an important conference call involving six people and myself at 9 a.m. As soon as I got on the line, my dog started barking to be let out. In trying to quiet the dog, I accidentally hung up on the conference call. I re-dialed and got my daughter to let the dog out. I apologized to the “conference people” and continued the call.
Shortly thereafter, the doorbell rang. My kids know not to open the door to strangers so they came to me. It was the pest control man – who showed up to treat for termites unannounced! Great! He asked us to bring the dog in while he sprayed, so my daughter let the dog back in. Of course, since there was now a stranger in the yard, the dog barked from inside. I took the telephone to the back room and closed the door to continue the conference. A few minutes later, the door bell rang again. It was the pest control man needing a signature. Really?? With telephone in one ear, I signed.
After the conference call ended, I had exactly 30 minutes to get to the state line (basically) for a workshop on how to use a new computer system (something for work). Mapquest said that it would take 38 minutes without traffic. I loaded up the kids in the car and hit the road. By this time, I really wanted to cry, but was literally incapable. On my “pity pot” my mind began to think, “My God, why have You forsaken me?”
Quickly, I stopped my overloaded brain, and began to rewrite the mind tapes: “Lord, I know You have not forsaken me. I know that where I go, You go with me. You show me time and again Your hand in my life. This too shall pass. Thank you for the two beautiful children in my car. Please get us to where we are going safely. Amen.”
Remarkably, I arrived at the workshop in 34 minutes safely. Internet was down at the building, so the workshop actually could not get started for another 20 minutes. I had time to breath and to go to the bathroom. Yes! God had heard my prayer and so graciously answered!
What do I do when anxiety gets the best of me? There are a few things that work remarkably well. All are based on surrender to God. Truly, this is the key! In my first “anxiety” post, I told you about the Infant Jesus of Prague nine-hour novena – works great!!! My other “go to” anxiety relievers are adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It is a safe haven and an unbelievable stress reducer! Often times, I go in there, and don’t want to leave. I often think that if I could live in there with Jesus and never leave, my life would be absolutely serene. Somehow, He always gives me the courage and strength to leave that “bubble” and to face the world again. I can do so knowing that He will be waiting for me in the chapel when I should need to return again. The adoration chapel has been an unbelievable sanctuary in my life. I never want to live far from one again!
I also like taking a nice, warm bubble bath and using the Laudate free Catholic APP on my phone to listen to the Rosary Podcast with Melissa. She has a soothing voice. I lay there all warm in the tub (how I imagine it must feel in the womb) and pray the rosary with Melissa. I give all of my fears and problems to the Blessed Mother and ask her to surround me and my family with her mantle of protection. I ask her to plead my case to her Son, Jesus. I always feel better afterwards.
Another ongoing anxiety buster is to find a scripture quote that speaks to you and post it in prominent places to remind you of the Lord’s promises – His Word. I put my favorite reminders on stickies on my dash-board, bathroom mirror and refrigerator. Quotes like, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:27) and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
Lastly, I like to get physical to reduce stress and anxiety. Some people jog. Some work out. I garden. I love getting muddy, playing with earthworms and helping things to grow. When I’m out in my garden, I am reminded of God’s creation – His goodness – His Providence. When I’m all done, I’m exhausted, and it’s pretty hard to be physically spent and stressed at the same time. It’s therapeutic!
If you are experiencing anxiety that you will give some of these “tips” a try. Give your stress to God. I promise that He can be trusted to handle your troubles.